Posts Tagged ‘tv sound’


Personalized Object-Based Audio for Hearing Impaired TV Viewers: new paper published (open access)

May 4, 2017


hearing-TV copy

For a long time now Ofcom and broadcasters have received complaints that speech on TV can be difficult, or impossible, to understand. The problem is of course much worse for viewers who with even quite mild hearing loss. Reasons are varied and well described in a recent Conversation article from one of our researchers, Lauren Ward. Causes include unfamiliar accents, unclear speaking from actors, excessive background sound effects or music and even occasionally badly recorded location audio.

Recent highly publicised complaints about Poldark, Happy Valley and SS-GB, and earlier, Jamaica Inn and Wonders of the Universe have generated something of a media storm over the issue which shows no sign of abating and was debated recently in the House of Lords.

At the Acoustics Research Centre atmini pic 18562 University of Salford we’ve been working on solutions to these problems for a long time, currently a lot of research is looking at how new object-based audio formats can solve some of these problems and make TV sound more accessible. Object-based audio has the potential to allow individual personalisation of TV sound based the viewer’s preferences or needs. Our most recent work, carried out using the DTS MDA object-based audio format can be found in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society article here. It is freely available as an open access publication – please feel free to read and comment. You can find more details of our accessible audio work on our blog here.

open access


IBC 2015: TV Sound for Hearing Impaired People

September 23, 2015

IBC 2015 Demonstration of Object Based Clean Audio

hearing-30097_640The problems of hearing impaired people watching TV have been well documented of late. Loud music, background noise and other factors can ruin the enjoyment of TV for many people with hearing loss – around 10 million people in the UK according to Action on Hearing Loss.

In previous research funded by the ITC and Ofcom I looked at solutions that took advantage of the (then) recent introduction of 5.1 surround sound broadcast. Some of this ended up in broadcast standards and is being used by broadcasters. Now emerging new audio standards are opening the door to improving TV sound much more for hearing impaired people, and also for many others.

I’ve written about some of this work before, a recent blog post described our journal article in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society where my colleague Rob Oldfield and I picked up where my PhD left off and looked at how we could improve TV sound for hearing impaired people by using features of emerging object-based audio formats. In object-based audio all component parts of a sound scene are broadcast separate and are combined at the set top box based on metadata contained in the broadcast transmission. This means that speech, and other elements important to understanding narrative, can be treated differently compared to background sound (such as music, noise etc).

I’ve just returned from IBC in Amsterdam where we’ve been demonstrating some University of Salford research outputs on object-based clean audio with DTS, a key player in object-based audio developments.


IBC 2015: The largest global electronic media and entertainment show in Amsterdam last week.

Object-based Clean Audio at IBC 2015

Last week we spent a week showing the results of our recent collaboration with DTS – presenting personalised TV audio and Read the rest of this entry ?

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